Sunday, July 27, 2008

D4-7 Allele - The Expat Gene

I've always been a novelty seeker, so the following really caught my attention.

Sample Chapter for Lal, D.: Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century.
A recent book, American Mania, by a colleague, Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, summarizes this evidence. He begins by noting that human migration is one major form of risky and novelty-seeking behavior. Only a few of our species left their ancestral home in the African savannahs and began that long walk to the ends of the earth which allowed homo sapiens to colonize the world. Who were these earliest migrants? It turns out they had a particular genetic profile. They had a higher percentage of an exploratory and novelty-seeking gene than those remaining behind. As novelty seeking and risk taking “are . . . behaviors essential to exploration and migration. . . this should be reflected in a distribution pattern of the relevant allele [the D4-7 allele gene] that is similar to the ancient migratory paths of our species.”2 How do we know this? The geneticist Luigi Luca Cavali-Sforza of Stanford University and his colleagues have provided a genetic mapping of the geographical dispersal of homo sapiens from their original home in Africa.3 Subsequently, Dr. Chauseng Chen of the University of California, Irvine,4 found that a coherent pattern emerges from this mapping “where those who stayed close to their original homeland have a higher percentage of the common D4-4 allele in the population and a lower prevalence of the exploratory and novelty-seeking D4-7 allele.”5

I wonder if this would explain why I seem to live in google reader.

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